The effectiveness of low-emission zones and urban tolls in mitigating pollution and congestion: Evidence from the literature

Publication date:
07/2021
Author:
Valeria Bernardo, Adjunct Professor, ESCSE Tecnocampus, Universitat Pompeu Fabra & Research Fellow, Governments and Markets (GiM) Research Group, University of Barcelona
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The large share of private car traffic in cities generates severe congestion and pollution. The cost of congestion for European society is estimated to be €270 billion a year (European Court of Auditors, 2020). Further, exposure to pollution, particularly fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) (EEA, 2020), is a major cause of premature death and disease that is responsible for around 400,000 annual premature deaths in the 39 member countries of the European Environment Agency (excluding Turkey). These two negative externalities of private car traffic are related, with car circulation at low speeds impacting the emission of polluting substances (Beaudoin et al., 2015; Parry et al., 2007).

Exposure to pollution, particularly fine particulate matter (PM 2.5), is a major cause of premature death and disease that is responsible for around 400,000 annual premature deaths in the 39 member countries of the European Environment Agency.